published Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Mocs DE seeking sacks

  • photo
    Mocs defensive end Josh Williams at practice at Finley Stadium in this file photo.
    Staff File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Josh Williams set a high goal for himself this season. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga junior defensive end said he wanted 12 sacks in 2011 — the same number he had in his first two seasons combined.

Williams has had an All-Southern Conference-caliber season and leads the league with 9.5 sacks. But it’s unlikely that he will get the 2.5 sacks he needs Saturday when UTC (5-5, 3-4 SoCon) wraps up its season against No. 12 Wofford (7-3, 5-2).

The triple-option Terriers have allowed just six sacks all season and quarterback Mitch Allen has attempted on 74 passes.

“They only threw the ball eight times last [week against Georgia Southern], so I’m not going to get too many chances,” Williams said.

Williams came into the season with 12.0 sacks, three shy of UTC’s rather modest all-time record. Williams got the record in the third game of the season, a 2.0-sack performance at Eastern Kentucky. Now, the record is up to a more impressive 21.5.

“By the time he leaves here, that thing will be well up into the 30s and it will probably stand the test of time for a little while,” linebacker Ryan Consiglio said.

The soft-spoken Williams — “He’s a true competitor and a true leader on this defense, even though you have to pry him open to say five words,” Consiglio said — said he doesn’t have a final sack number in mind.

“The sky’s the limit, really,” said the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder from Griffin, Ga. “Maybe it could be 40, I don’t know. I want to get it as high as I can.”

The sacks — including six multi-sack games — have been impressive, Mocs coach Russ Huesman said, but they’re not Williams’ only contribution to the defense. Williams has 39 total tackles, seven quarterback hurries and is excelling against the run as well for a Mocs defense that leads the SoCon in total defense.

“He can run, and I don’t know if people realize just how fast he is,” Huesman said. “He’s actually playing the run game well and being stout in there better this year than he has since he’s been here. We knew his freshman year that he was a pretty special player.”

Williams is part of a defense that Wofford coach Mike Ayers thinks is special.

“Defensively, they’re like a machine,” he said. “If you want a clinic on playing an eight-man front, those cats, they got it. They’ve got players to match that scheme and everybody on their defensive 11 can run.”

Going up against UTC’s defense hasn’t been fun, especially early in games. The Mocs haven’t allowed a first-quarter point in seven straight games and haven’t given up a first-half touchdown in four straight.

The Mocs lead the SoCon and are No. 10 nationally in total defense (297.0 yards per game) and are No. 2 in the SoCon and 13th nationally in scoring defense (18.9 ppg).

about John Frierson...

John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...

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